I have lived and worked in China for more than 20 years now. Ever since I first arrived in this great country in Suzhou and visited its beautiful gardens, China has never failed to amaze me. How fast peoples ́ lives have been improved! And of course many challenges and opportunities are still ahead from many dimensions and that’s why most of us remain here.
It is clear that, as the world is slowly starting to emerge from the corona crisis, China is once again a very inspiring place to be. Its dynamic growth with grand ambitions creates hope for a lot of people. I am one of them.
There is a distinct “can do spirit“ in this country that attracted me early on. Originally, I thought I would stay here only for a few years. Helping to successfully establish an MNC ́s healthcare business in China, I could have moved on and taken on other challenges in other countries. Instead, I decided to stay here in China and never regretted it.
I am now the Managing Director of the Electronics division, a member of the global leadership team, as well as the President of Merck in China. Our Merck Group, headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, is employing more than 50,000 bright talents around the globe, more than 4,000 of them in China. We are active across the three business sectors Electronics, Healthcare and Life Science.
In my daily life, I not only have a front-row seat to watch China ́s transformation, me and my colleagues also have the honor to contribute our bit to China ́s modernization. All of our three business sectors happen to be priority industries for the Chinese government.
With the endorsement of our membership, I would like to contribute to AmCham China’s mission at the critical time and remember well the value of being on the Board of Governors during my time at Pfizer. Merck’s U.S. presence is fundamental to our global business and the nexus to our China business, spanning healthcare (essential medicine), life-science (vaccines), and Electronic materials (semiconductor), that has never been stronger. As a standing member of Merck’s Global Corporate Public Policy Committee, I hope to bring an informed perspective on the importance of multinational collaboration as it relates to China.
As a chairman’s circle member, I have benefited significantly and ask to further support AmCham China’s engagement with stakeholders in China and the U.S. Your endorsement would be highly appreciated, and I will do my best to bring my experience, judgement, and commitment to a sustainable operating environment in China.
Allan Gabor was appointed by Pfizer to come to China from the United States in 1999 and began his career rooted in China since then. He has been working and living in China for over 22 years, and today as the President of Merck China, and as Executive Vice President of Merck Electronics.
During his two decades in China, Allan Gabor has served as an important leader in the pharmaceutical industry and actively promoted the development of China’s pharmaceutical industry. Through his efforts, Allan helped his company introduced many innovative drugs into China. At the same time, Allan has assisted in promoting the development of policies and measures in the Chinese pharmaceutical industry, expanded the accessibility of medical services, and actively shaped a good business environment to promote the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In recent years, Allan has vigorously promoted Merck’s investment in China, especially in the Yangtze River Delta region, which include Merck Nantong Pharmaceutical Factory, OLED Technology China Center (Shanghai), and Merck Electronic Technology Center, enhancing local industry production capacity and R&D capabilities. He actively introduced new technologies and R&D products from the German headquarters, strongly supported the R&D innovation and development of the domestic display industry and semiconductor industry, and made active contributions to the technological transformation and upgrading of related industries in China.
Main Contributions: Work Performance and Social Contribution
From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Allan Gabor served as Chairman and General Manager of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. Under his active promotion, Pfizer established the China Regional Investment Headquarters in Shanghai, and established world-class Pfizer China’s Shanghai R&D Center. Under his leadership, Pfizer introduced many innovative drugs to China. Thereafter, Allan was promoted to Vice President of Pfizer Asia, and he continued to strengthen Pfizer’s investment in the Asia-Pacific region, further enhancing China’s strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region of the pharmaceutical industry. In 2010, he advocated for expanding the pharmaceutical R&D business in central and western China, helping to improve China’s biomedical research infrastructure, and establishing a Pfizer R&D center in Wuhan. With his many achievements, he was awarded the “Magnolia Memorial Award” by the Shanghai Municipal Government in 2008, and the “Magnolia Honor Award” in 2010.
In June 2017, the former State Food and Drug Administration formally joined the International Coordination Conference on Technical Requirements for the Registration of Human Drugs (ICH), marking an important step forward for China’s drug standards in the field of international cooperation. In June 2018, the National Medical Products Administration further became a member of the ICH Management Committee. Behind this lies the active lobbying and dedication of Mr. Allan Gabor. He actively lobbied the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA) to help China join ICH through the influence of all parties, and fully supported China to host an ICH theme day, especially the ICH coordinated work of the National Center for Drug Evaluation and Approval and the International Cooperation and Exchange Center of Food and Drug Administration. Through his leadership and influence, Mr. Allan Gabor has continuously invited the directors of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations to share experience with officials of relevant Chinese departments, promote interaction between government, industry, and academia, and continue contributing to the vigorous development of China’s pharmaceutical industry.
After serving as Managing Director of China’s formally Performance Materials business, Allan Gabor is committed to developing and formulating a new strategy for Performance Materials business in China, developing new collaboration models with Chinese customers, and achieving win-win situations with partners. Under his leadership, Merck introduced the world’s most advanced photoresist technology to China, helping China’s display and semiconductor industries carry out technological transformation and upgrading. In July 2018, Merck and Caihong Group teamed up to establish localized photoresist production facilities. By providing technical support, process and raw materials, this has helped Caihong Group build the world’s most advanced photoresist production line within four months. These made-in-China photoresist products are driving the overall upgrade of related industries in China.
In addition, Allan Gabor is also positively deepening the localization of Merck’s OLED material innovation, support the development of China’s OLED industry. Since China still relies on imported OLED materials, Merck is the world’s leading provider of OLED materials, and is the only company in the world that provides both vapor deposition and printable OLED materials. Under his vigorous promotion, in 2018, a new OLED Technology China Center was completed in Shanghai to help customers design and characterize OLED devices, and jointly promote innovation for Chinese customers and shorten their time to market.
During the third CIIE in 2020, Allan Gabor announced that the Merck Electronic Technology Center will be located at the Merck Jinqiao in Pudong New District, Shanghai. The center has an investment of about 140 million yuan and will cover an area of about 3,300 square meters, carrying out analysis, testing, and sampling of various electronic materials. After the completion of the center, Merck will be able to provide local Chinese customers and partners with comprehensive technical services and customized materials, helping Chinese companies innovate in the electronic field, and empower China’s electronic information industry.
Allan Gabor, while making brilliant developments in his professional career, has not forgotten to give back to Chinese society, where he actively supports and carries out various social responsibility activities.
Medical and Health field
When Allan was President of the Merck BioPharma business, he initiated the “China Thyroid Disease Education Project”, where Merck provides free physical examinations and screenings for thyroid dysfunction to 800 hospitals every year.
In 2014, Merck cooperated with the former International Exchange and Cooperation Center of the National Health and Family Planning Commission to develop human assisted reproductive technology. Together with the China Women’s Development Foundation, Merck launched the “Merck Serono Baby Fund” to provide medical and fertility assistance to families in need.
One Foundation Water Purification Project
In 2018, at Merck’s 350th anniversary celebration, Allan Gabor announced the cooperation with One Foundation to fully support the “Water Purification Project”, a drinking water improvement project for rural schools in China. So far, the program has donated a total of 4 million yuan to help 102 rural schools and 40,729 children drink clean drinking water.
Light of Hope
In 2020, the Electronic Technology Business led by Allan Gabor joined hands with the Shanghai Jinqiao Biyun Charity Foundation to launch the “Light of Hope” charity project, donating 200,000 RMB dedicated to delivering scientific and digital teaching concepts to students in poor areas of China, and helping students better understand the value of education.
Promoting Shanghai’s Foreign Exchanges
In recent years, Allan Gabor has vigorously promoted Merck’s investment in China, especially in the Yangtze River Delta region, including the Nantong pharmaceutical factory and Life Science center investment of 2 billion yuan. Merck established the first BioReliance End-to-End bioprocess development center in Shanghai, Merck’s largest life science technology and training center in the world, OLED technology China center in Shanghai, and Electronic Technology Center to help improve Shanghai’s local industrial production capacity and R&D capabilities. He actively introduced new technologies and R&D products from German headquarters, strongly supported the R&D and innovation development of the domestic display industry and semiconductor industry, and contributed to the technological transformation and upgrading of related industries in China.
In 2018, Allan Gabor supported the establishment of the first batch of Merck overseas innovation centers outside of the German headquarters, in China’s Shanghai and Guangzhou respectively, and supported high-tech incubator projects, spanning the three major business areas of Healthcare, Life Sciences, and Electronics. He also worked closely with China’s start-up companies, academic institutions, industry association, and local governments to further drive the localization of production, technology, and talent, and jointly develop new technologies and solutions for China and the world.
In that same year, the first China International Import Expo was held in Shanghai. Under the leadership of Mr. Gabor, Merck became one of the first companies to announce their participation in CIIE. Merck led a 300-square-meter booth at CIIE to showcase their leading technology and products. This showed that China not only exports its own products, but also actively promotes imports, conducive to promoting China’s innovation – the exhibition truly became a bridge of communication between the government and enterprises. In March 2019, with the support of Mr. Allan Gabor, the CIIE delegation visited Merck’s Germany headquarters and continued to write friendly chapters of openness and cooperation. In 2020, Merck again debuted at CIIE, and released a new Merck Chinese brand logo, deepening its local market integration, and utilized a firmer “In China, with China” localization strategy, using leading technology to help China’s economic development, continuing to transform and improve people’s lives.
In 2019, Allan, as an observer of the Shanghai Mayor’s Consultation Meeting, help received former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong’s visit to Merck China, and actively participated in the investigation and discussion of improvement in the business environment. In addition, Mr. Gabor also actively participated in the Boao Forum, China Development Forum, China and Globalization Forum, and other key national activities, actively contributing to improving the comprehensive competitiveness of Shanghai and China.
Significant Leadership during Pandemic, and Resuming Work and Production safely
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China. On January 26th, Allan Gabor led his management team for emergency response immediately. Merck Life Science business urgently donated scientific research reagents and equipment worth over 600,000 yuan to Wuhan local scientific research institutions for virus detection and analysis. At the same time, Merck sourced masks from global percurrent network, delivering 15,000 medical protective masks to five designated hospitals in Wuhan. Additionally, Allan urgently coordinated with Merck’s headquarters, and on February 4th officially announced it’s donation of over RMB 3 million Yuan, plus materials and equipment to the Beijing Red Cross, the Shanghai Charity Foundation, and the Guangdong Red Cross, to support China’s fight against the Covid-19.
In order to ensure the health and safety of Merck’s over 4,200 employees in China, Allan Gabor quickly established an emergency response team, communicated closely with employees through multiple channels and multiple forms, and quickly deployed resources to ensure all employees and their family’s safety. In accordance with the spirit of the Shanghai Municipal Government’s epidemic prevention and control instructions, employee’s work was quickly and properly arranged in various offices and factories.
In order to also fully meet the needs of patients and customers and ensure business continuity at the same time, Merck was in the first batch of companies to resume work and production, under the approval of Shanghai Municipal Government. On February 5, Shanghai Jinqiao Factory officially resumed work. Mr. Gabor was interviewed by various mainstream, such as CCTV, People’s Daily, China Daily, Economic Observer, and more, expressing his confidence toward Chinese government for preventing and controlling the pandemic.
The epidemic situation in China is gradually stabilizing and showing positive trends. However, from this pandemic, we learn the prevention of large-scale epidemic diseases and the use of appropriate products and technologies to combat infectious diseases are vitally important. On February 18th, Merck announced the 2020 Innovation Research Funding Program, which aims to encourage and inspire innovative research in a series of extremely important and challenging future fields. The funding of 500,000 Euros mainly focuses on four major areas: pandemic disease prevention or combating new toxic infections, drug discovery, bioreactor design for cultured meat, and next-generation machine learning. In addition to research funding projects, Merck also released the 2020 Research Challenge, encouraging the scientific community and partners to actively participate, establish a new cooperation model, fully invest in research and innovation to improve human health and lives, and strive to achieve the beautiful vision of improving the lives of 40 million patients in China by 2025.